Scientists say Earth's sixth mass extinction is underway

By Jennifer Pilgrim,

Scientists and researchers at Stanford University speculate that the Earth is on the brink of its sixth mass extinction. New evidence suggests that the first days of a great extinction are underway, and it's a much sneakier type of extinction than what people normally think of.

According to Weather.com, many animal species are dying off 1,000 times faster today than they did before humans walked the earth. The human population has almost doubled in just 40 short years, while many other animal populations have lessened by 45 percent in the same time period.

Within the 5 to 9 million animal species that exist on Earth today, scientists speculate that between 11 to 58 thousand of them will go extinct this year. It is assumed that almost 99 percent of all known species to have ever existed on Earth are gone forever. Although extinction is not uncommon, it is the rate at which species extinction occurs that alarms researchers.

Tech Times reports that the disappearance of large animals is called megafauna, and can have a trickle down effect on smaller species, such as rodents and insects.

Rodolfo Dirzo of Stanford University explains that today's extinctions are different than previous, because the driving force is not a meteorite or a volcano. "It is one species - homo sapiens."

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